Provincial legislators approved Tuesday a measure to include age-appropriate sex education and reproductive health care in school curricula, believing that empowering young people with information during their formative years is critical for shaping their values and beliefs.

The members of the Provincial Board of Palawan passed Resolution No. 470-22on November 8, which asked the Schools Division Office (SDO) of Palawan, through schools division superintendent Dr. Roger Capa, to lobby the Department of Education (DepEd) to include age-appropriate sex education and reproductive health care in the basic education curriculum.

Board member and measure author Rafael Ortega Jr. argued that young people lack the information, values and attitudes, skills, and access to quality health services they need to make informed decisions about their sexual and reproductive health (RH).

”Ito ay tungkol po sa sex education and reproductive health na dapat po sana ay maituro sa ating mga kabataan para maiwasan ang teenage pregnancy sa mga junior at senior high school students sa lalawigan ng Palawan (This is about teaching young people regarding sex education and reproductive health in order to prevent teen pregnancy among junior and senior high school students in Palawan),” he said.

“I hope through this piece of legislation ay, somehow will address yung mga issues on sex education and reproductive health, including the prevention ng teenage pregnancies. At sana makatutulong ito dahil alam naman natin na ang social media ngayon ay talagang hindi na maganda ang naituturo sa ating mga kabataan,” he said.

(I hope through this piece of legislation we’ll be able to address issues like sex education and reproductive health, as well as the prevention of teen pregnancy. And we hope that this will lend a hand because, as you know, social media isn’t helping our youth these days.)

Ortega also called on the Provincial Health Office (PHO), through Dr. Faye Erika Labrador, to conduct information drives on the two subject matters to help young people in Palawan.

In separate Resolution No. 469-22, it stated this can be done in coordination with the SDO of Palawan.

Ferdinand Zaballa, president of Liga ng mga Barangay and a board member, agreed with the move and said that it was an issue that barangays also cared about.

“Ang Liga ng mga Barangay saw this as a major problem na talagang lumalala ‘yong sitwasyon ng teenage pregnancy not only concentrated sa isa but the whole province (The Liga ng mga Barangay saw it as a big problem that teen pregnancy is getting worse, not just in one place but in the whole province),” he said.

“A good example for that is my barangay. Sa barangay ko po, 64 ang buntis and sad to say 9 doon ay 17 years old and below at ang pinakabata ay 14 years old. So, talagang kailangan. This is really the time na mamulat ang mata ng ating mga kababayan (There are 64 pregnant women in my barangay, and 9 of them are 17 years old or younger, with the youngest being 14 years old. So there is a genuine need. It is truly time for us to open our eyes),” Zaballa added.

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